The priority themes of community, nature and climate, form the strategic back bone - the corner posts - of Visit Kent’s Sustainable Tourism Action Plan.
When these life support systems thrive, local tourism and visitors benefit. However, the relationship is two-way. The tourism industry has a significant impact on communities, nature and climate and we have to manage it responsibly. We have a duty to manage it responsibly and protect the beautiful Kent landscape.
Society, governments and businesses must move rapidly now towards a Net Zero and nature positive future. Our Sustainable Tourism Action Plan lays out 16 key action areas – with a roadmap from now until 2030. Our plan aims to help protect and enhance community, climate and nature for the long term value - not only of the local tourism industry - but also of the planet.
Tourism has the power to create positive impacts. It also has the potential to impact negatively if not managed thoughtfully and purposefully. Sustainable or responsible tourism is about planning tourism with purpose; so that it does more good and a lot less harm. Ultimately, this approach to tourism makes for a more enjoyable experience for visitors too.
The Kent Sustainable Tourism Action Plan is centred on three priority themes of community, nature and climate, which form the strategic back bone of the framework. This aims to bring together businesses, the community and visitors, through a series of detailed actions, tracked through an ongoing monitoring programme. The action plan aims to provide a framework for the wider sector to use as a roadmap to help play our collective part in tackling and responding to the climate crisis and recovery.
This plan is for Visit Kent and any business or organisation in Kent, involved in tourism: local authorities, hotels, B&Bs, Airbnbs, tour and activity operators, transport providers, tour guides, holiday parks, campsites, attractions, experiences, food and drink outlets / producers such as (pubs, cafes, restaurants, farms) and retailers.
More and more visitors, as well as local residents, are choosing travel businesses and destinations that are able to offer lower carbon, nature friendly experiences and will actively choose those businesses that are consciously more ‘purpose-led’ in their approach.
Whether it is saving energy or making better use of food waste, designing your business operations in a more sustainable way has the potential to save money too. How a company treats people, and the planet matters more to potential employees and visitors than ever before. Upholding our responsibilities to communities, nature and climate is ultimately not only essential for our future, but it also makes good business sense too.
Progress against the detailed actions in the plan will be tracked through an ongoing monitoring programme using seven different data sources to capture 16 different social, environmental and economic impact indicators. This will be published in annual impact report to track and report progress, as part of Visit Kent’s annual review.
If you have questions or stories that you think might help or inspire other tourism businesses working to be more sustainable, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch with email@example.com or you can sign up to be an Impact Hero here.